Written byRajashree Seal ·
The government has ramped up printing of currency notes and is operating all the four presses 24x7, an official said on Thursday amid ATMs running dry in many parts of the country.
Since this week, the presses are minting out Rs. 500 and Rs. 200 notes without a break to meet an estimated Rs. 70,000 crore of currency shortfall in the country, he said.
On an average, the four presses of Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) operate for 18-19 hours daily with a 3-4 hour break. But since ATMs ran dry due to "unusual spurt in demand" for cash, the presses are operating 24X7.
Normally a currency printing cycle is of 15 days, meaning thereby the increased number of currencies which are being printed beginning this week would be available only towards the end of this month.
The official said that printing of currency 24x7 was last done post demonetization when the printing of new Rs. 2,000 notes was fast-tracked to meet the liquidity shortage in the market.
The Finance Ministry earlier this week said there's an unusual spurt in demand in some parts of the country like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, MP, and Bihar. In the first 13 days of the current month, the currency demand went up by Rs. 45,000 crore.
The RBI on Tuesday stated that there's sufficient cash in its vaults and currency chests. "Nevertheless, printing of the notes has been ramped up in all the 4 note presses."
The shortage may be felt in some pockets largely due to logistical issues of replenishing ATMs frequently and the recalibration of ATMs being still underway to dispensing smaller sized Rs. 200 notes, said RBI.
Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said that the government suspects that Rs. 2,000 notes are being hoarded as they're not coming back into the circulation fast enough. To deal with currency shortage, the printing of Rs. 500 notes have been increased 5 times.
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